I'm excited to be involved in two wonderful endeavors that relate to children's literature, The Messages Project, which connects incarcerated parents to their children through filmed picture book read-alouds, and A Novel Mind, a hub for neurodiversity in kidlit:
The Messages Project
The Messages Project is a wonderful organization in which I am involved that helps establish and maintain the bond between children and their incarcerated parents through the magic of picture books. Their volunteers enter correctional institutions and film parents reading donated books aloud to their children. The messages are then delivered to the children along with a copy of the book that their parent read. Messages Project volunteers have recorded over 19,000 video messages with incarcerated parents across the United States and abroad.
Children of incarcerated parents are six times more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system. The Messages Project helps those at-risk children establish and maintain the bond with their incarcerated parents. The program not only helps these children, but it also helps to prevent incarcerated parents from returning to prison.
They have an Amazon Wishlist of specific book donations they'd like here. You can also designate them as your Amazon Smile beneficiary charity. Additional book and monetary donations are always welcome as well. You can learn more here, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.
A NOVEL MIND
Sally Pla has written two incredible middle grade novels and a PB starring neuroatypical kids. She and Merriam Saunders started A NOVEL MIND to discuss the intersection of neurodiversity and kidlit. The project includes a Facebook Group , and an amazing database of over 600 children's books that showcase neurobiological differences and/or mental health challenges. It's searchable by title, age range, author, and issue (ADHD, autism, sensory processing, anxiety, etc).
As an adult with ADHD and sensory processing challenges who is also writing in this space, I am excited to be helping them maintain this incredible resource and encourage anyone interested to join the A Novel Mind community.